Cultural Heritage – Traditions

Cultural Heritage as a lot to do with one’s traditions, culture, ethnicity and the ways you perceive your life. Heritage his what differentiates one individual, families and communities to another. Every individual practice and follow their heritage based on one’s ethnicity, religion and cultural background. Heritage his defined as “the range of contemporary activities, meanings and behaviors that we draw from them” (UMASS Amhert, 2012). Cultural heritage his the ways of living development by a community and passed from generation to generation.

Heritage can be manifested through tangible forms such has artifacts e.g. museums and collections historical building, and through intangible forms such as voices, values, traditions and oral history. The use of heritage assessment helps nurses during the patient assessment process to obtain more information about patient’s culture, values and their beliefs about health.

Cultural heritage assessment his important for nurses in providing patient centered-care. It gives the nurses an in depth understanding of the patient beliefs about sickness and diseases.

“One heritage includes information about their cultural beliefs and practices of the family and ethnic religious community” (Javis, 2012). The heritage assessment is also a benefit for nurses on their practice, they are able to evaluate the patient has a whole, their family including where their ancestors were born, there ethnic background. The heritage assessment tool his a guide for nurses to understand individual cultural beliefs, since cultural competency is important in nursing practice. In order to provide a holistic approach to nursing care, the heritage assessment tool as to be utilized to help both the patient and health care provider.

United states as a very diverse culture because people originated from different part of the world.

The health assessment tool is considered to give nurses an understanding of the patient’s traditional health, illness beliefs and practices, so that culturally appropriate interventions can be initiated. “Cultural competence refers to the ability of nurses to understand and accept the cultural backgrounds of individuals and provide care that best meets the person’s needs not the nurse’s”. (Edelman & Mandle, 2010). Health assessment tool assists nurses to identify and view individual’s culture, as well has traditional health ways to conserve, protect and restore health. The heritage assessment tools which was developed by Spector, R.E, is a series of 29 questions designed to determine a patient’s ethnic, culture and religious background. This paper will evaluate three families from three different cultures and backgrounds. It will identify common health traditions and practices based on their cultural heritage. It will discuss how these families adhere to their cultural beliefs and practices. This paper will focus on these families’ health maintenance, health protection and restoration. This student assessed individuals from Africa which is her native country, families from the Philippines and from India community.

The student was amazed at how proud the families that were interviewed was of their cultural heritage, they still believed on the traditional medicine used by their forefathers and their forefathers idea of disease prevention and methods of curing diseases even at this age in time. These families have a lot of respect and dignity for their cultural heritage. This student’s family and the other families interviewed have cultures which are deeply rooted on them from birth and will do everything and anything to preserve it so it can be passed in to the younger generation. The student conducting this studies is from Nigeria, a country in West Africa made up of mainly five tribes which are the Igbo’s, the Hausas, the Yoruba’s, the Ibibo’s and the Tivi’s. The student main tribe is Yoruba.

These tribes have different ways of expressing their cultural heritage but they all have same cultural beliefs. Nigerians are very proud of their various yearly festivals because it is a time for all families to come together and socialize with each other. There are lots of dancing at these festivals and the people beliefs it helps maintain their health. During the festival people travelled from fair and near places to have fun and enjoyed the family reunion. The ceremonies celebrated include marriage ceremonies, chieftaincy titles and New Year festivals. Nigerians are known traders and farmers growing roots, tubers, grains, fruits and vegetables.

The foods are naturally grown because they belief that adding artificial fertilizer to food causes illness. They believe on herbal medicine which can be used for disease prevention, health restoration and maintenance. For example they beliefs in using herbs and roots as traditional medicine to treatment disease condition like malaria and Typhoid fever. The Igbo’s beliefs in worshipping godfather in their local and spiritual ways which work out for them because their faith is associated with it. A woman on her postpartum period is given herbs and roots to drink and this is believed to help her uterus contract and return to its usual size thereby preventing bleeding.

As a matter of fact, this really worked but the rationale behind it is unknown because this was used specifically on the writer when she had her first child. The second family this student interviewed his from the Philippines (Asia). Their speaking language is Filipino, they originate from the urban area of the country. The Asians are very small in stature, their culture his deep rooted in them and they find it very difficult to blend into other people’s culture. They intermarry and very rarely will marry outside their own race and that is why they all look alike. They eat a lot of rice, they also believe on roots and herbs for health maintenance.

They believe on restoring health acupuncture and some of their medicinal practices are being accepted in the United States today. For example acupuncture. The third family this student interviewed are family friend from India and they speaks Hindi. They originated from the rural area of the country. Their cultural beliefs are deep rooted in them and despite the fact that they grew up in United State, yet they still cherish their religious values. They always prefer to married from their tribe, cook their traditional food and enjoy wearing their traditional clothing’s.

They also beliefs that with prayers they can maintain their health. They lives in every part of the world and they also believe on herbs. After the interviews with the above families from different origination using the Spector’s heritage assessment tool, the student has come to the conclusion that people’s cultures, values, beliefs and tradition are deeply rooted in them and that they should be respected, accepted and treated with dignity no matter their cultural backgrounds. Also as health care professional, the assessment tools served as a guide for us to understand individuals, families and communities from 3 difference culture, therefore it is important for all health care workers especially nurses to have a deep insight of individual culture associated with illness and diseases. Nurses being in the frontline of health care, it is important that student nurses should have good knowledge of what culture entails before they graduate and go into the community.


  1. Edelman, C. & Mandle, C. (2006). Health promotion though lifespan. St. Louis Missouri: Elsevier and Mosley. Spector, R. (2009).
  2. Cultural diversity in health and illness. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson education Inc. Eller, D.B. (2004).
  3. The Germans have landed. Christian history & Biography. Countries and their cultures, Retrieved from
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